Important metal cutting fluid health concerns

While any metal cutting fluid is good for work pieces, it may pose serious health concerns to your body. This happens when you come into contact, inhale or ingest the fluid. The risk depends on various factors such as personal hygiene and equipment maintenance.

The severity of the health concern caused by the fluids depends on five vital factors. They are:

  1. The type of fluid you use
  2. The amount and nature of contamination in the fluid
  3. Exposure
  4. Duration
  5. Frequency.

Contaminated fluid can cause health problems following three modes. In the first place, all fluids used in metal working are irritants to your skin; irritation depends on other health conditions such as your history of eczema and dermatitis. Users who suffered from eczema in their childhood have increased risk of developing dermatitis, any existing conditions can be worsened by possible damage from fine metallic particles from machining. Secondly, fluids used in cutting metal can cause respiratory complications to users. Work-related bronchitis, breathing difficulties, asthma, and respiratory tract irritations are the most commonly reported cases; any existing condition can be aggravated with further exposure to aerosol, mist, or vapour.

There is no evidence related to specific fluid components that cause respiratory complications, however, the severity of the problem depends on workshop factors such as ventilation, enclosure characteristics of the machine, and the cutting speeds.

The third health problem involves development of certain types of cancers. Such fluids have been known to cause scrotum, bladder, larynx, skin, pancreas, and oesophagus. On the contrary, studies that associate these cancers to cutting oils have shown inconsistencies, while new formulations of such fluids emerge with new technology, it is difficult to pin a specific type of fluid to a particular type of cancer. Knowledge of the health concerns associated with any cutting fluid is imperative to your safety and the environment. Always follow safety guidelines and stay safe while using these marvellous fluids.

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